Press Release

60th anniversary of the Labor Agreement – Isn’t it time for politics to take Muslims into account?

30. October 2021
Pressemitteilung/press release

Kemal Ergün, Chairman of the Islamic Society Millî Görüş (IGMG), made a statement on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Labor Agreement signed between Germany and Turkey on October 30, 1961. “The Germany-Turkey Labor Agreement is a turning point for Muslim life in Germany. After 60 years, it is essential that politics take the needs of Muslims into account.” said Ergün and continued his words as follows:

“Although the history of Islam in Germany goes back much further, the formation and development of the Muslim presence here today took place with the Labor Agreement between Germany and Turkey. In the first place, guest workers built temporary mosques to meet their needs. As it became clear that they would not be temporary but permanent in Germany, these temporary mosques were replaced by permanent establishments.

Our mosques are the result of these benevolent efforts of the first generation. Our first generation elders laid the foundation stones in the most difficult conditions and without any support. It is on these foundations that communities, which are at the very center of society today, and which are the focal point of cooperation and unity, were built. Mosques, which are now located at more central locations rather than backyards and have become a part of the silhouettes of cities, also emerged from these foundations. That’s why we can’t thank the first generation enough, and appreciate these beautiful works they pioneered.

Muslims have now settled in Germany and consider it their homeland. However, this fact does not mean that we should ignore the problems. Scientific research reveals that Muslims are still not properly accepted and that this is a deep-rooted problem in society. In the 60th anniversary of the Labor Agreement, parties that are still openly hostile to Islam can gain seats in parliaments and sow seeds of hatred against ethnic and religious minorities without hesitation.

It is therefore essential that the new coalition government that is taking shape take these problems into account in the coalition negotiations. We want a policy that does not exclude anybody, embraces everybody and resolutely fights all forms of racism. We expect a policy that prioritizes the fight against Islamophobia and ensures equal opportunities for Muslims in their search for a house or job, whether they wear a headscarf or not. We demand a policy that recognizes Muslims institutionally and does not turn a deaf ear to their voices. We desire a policy that puts human dignity at the center unconditionally, regardless of citizenship or residence status. We want a policy that takes responsibility for nature and the environment and does not contradict our beliefs.

60 years after the Labor Agreement, the time has come for people to feel connected not only to the country and society, but also to politics. Politics must now take into account the needs and demands of Muslims. The ongoing coalition negotiations are an important opportunity for this.”

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